Home of three former "Jeopardy!" champions, Durango is obviously a hamlet for geniuses. If you're one of those people who thinks they're too smart for the bar crowd, perhaps you're not drinking on the right night.
On trivia nights, "you're in a bar full of people who aren't idiots," says Ted "Super Ted" Holteen.
In between writing gigs and radio show hosting, Holteen carefully wields his trivia challenges for Durango's brightest minds gathered at Ska Brewing every Tuesday for Super Ted's Super Trivia.
An insatiable thirst for knowledge combined with binge-watching game shows and TV with a notebook for the last 20-years, Holteen is an authentic trivia nut, who, try as he might, has yet to be picked for "Jeopardy!" or "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?".
Holteen's best advice for anyone just starting their trivia journey?
"Stop being 20-something and just be older. There's no substitute for being alive a long time."
He adds that trivia hopefuls should also read more, watch more TV, carry a notebook to jot down tidbits heard throughout the day, and memorize all of the Super Bowl MVP's, which he knows by heart.
Here are some other guidelines for those curious about how to prepare for the wide world of beer-soaked quizzes:
That's right. It is possible to study for pub trivia. Besides keeping up with local and global current events, spend some time on Wikipedia. Peruse and practice on apps QuizUp and Sporcle. Anticipate common pub trivia subjects, like US Presidents, box office hits, the Periodic Table of Elements, Oscar winners, chart toppers and sports history.
2. Stay curious.
A theme for most trivia buffs, curiosity is one tool to keep sharp as the years roll by. This is good advice for life in general, so even if pub trivia isn't in your future, keep your ears perked and eyes open for stories, factoids and random bits of knowledge that could someday save your life.
3. Build the right team.
Pub trivia experts say that the perfect team consists of someone young, someone older and at least one person of the opposite sex. Diverse knowledge is ideal and analytical minds who are good at making connections between things are your secret weapons. In Durango, most teams are capped at five or six players. Assign a secretary (someone to write down the questions) and a captain (someone to have the final say, should there be dissidence). And, for crying out loud, be a good sportsman.
4. Arrive early.
Not all pub seats are created equal, so choose a seat where you can hear the trivia master. Arriving early also gives you time to order some brain food, or calm your nerves with a pre-game pint.
5. Own your knowledge.
"Don't downplay what you know just because you think nobody knows it … the stuff you know matters," says Tony Hightower, winner of $250K on Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
If you've memorized all of the winners on The Bachelor, own it. Don't be shy. I'll never forget the greatest moment in my life when I recalled a quote from Gone with the Wind during a knuckle-biting trivia match. Nobody else knew it but me. I still beam with pride when I recall that glorious moment; I want you to have that, too.
6. Never turn in a blank answer.
Even a wild guess is the right guess sometimes. If no one on your team is 100% sure, have guessers give a percentage of their confidence level, like, I'm 90% sure I'm right. Pick the most assured answer and cross your fingers.
7. Don't get [too] drunk.
Trivia masters will be the first to tell you: the drunkest teams are usually the biggest losers. While some folks claim to be smarter after a couple of pints, getting hammered is strongly discouraged.
8. Find the right bar for you.
Some quiz nights end up being less fun and more frustrating for competitive folks, so don't get discouraged; just find a new bar. See this list of Durango's weekly pub trivia offerings, and start training for annual events during Snowdown:
Super Ted's Super Trivia at 6:12pm. Ska Brewing World Headquarters, 225 Girard Street. 970.247.5792. Infamous for being the most difficult trivia in Durango, Super Ted's Super Trivia is for bona fide know-it-all's. Bring a team of five to compete for beer, pizza and Colorado's latest legal commodity. 2-4-1 beer specials.
Useless Knowledge Bowl at 7pm. Durango Brewing Company, 3000 Main Ave. 970.247.3396. Exactly as it sounds, DBC's trivia night is chockablock full of movie quotes and other bits of totally useless knowledge you can finally put to work.
Geeks Who Drink at 6:30pm. BREW Pub & Kitchen, 117 West College Drive. 970.259.5959. Crafted after British pub trivia models, Geeks Who Drink is led by Eric Prosser, who Ted Holteen of Super Ted's calls the "common denominator and golden standard" of trivia wizards in Durango. Topics cover everything from celebrities in trouble to wordplay and bad television.
Irish Embassy Pub at 6:30. 900 Main Ave. 970.403.1200. firstname.lastname@example.org. Another classic British pub night replete with Guinness and fish and chips, if one so desires. Nightly and monthly winners announced weekly.
Powerhouse Science Center at 6:30pm. 1333 Camino del Rio. 970.259.9234. email@example.com. Played outside when the weather cooperates, Powerhouse trivia welcomes teams of five to sip local beer and compete in five rounds of 10 questions each. Of course, there's always a science round. Free to play!